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Bank Transfer Day was a great way to jump-start awareness of credit unions. But the work doesn’t stop there, say three Diamond Award-winning marketers:
- Anne Legg, vice president of marketing for $740 million asset Financial Partners Credit Union, Downey, Calif. (Marketing Professional of the Year);
- John Godwin, vice president of business development/strategic alliances for $1.1 billion asset MECU of Baltimore (Business Development Professional of the Year Award); and
- Kim Wall, community development director for $900 million asset Georgia United Credit Union in Duluth (Hall of Fame inductee).
In the fourth of this five-part series, Wall, Legg, and Godwin tell Credit Union Magazine how they’ve helped their credit unions capitalize on the Bank Transfer Day movement.
CU Mag: How did you help your CU capitalize on the Bank Transfer Day movement?
Legg: The biggest challenge with Bank Transfer Day was not having the budget to do mass advertising. If you weren’t already marketing aggressively to nonmembers, it would be difficult to attract them because they wouldn't know you existed.
We worked on having robust online account opening so people could do that on a Saturday. The awkward part about Bank Transfer Day was that it was held on Saturday, when many credit unions are closed.
But it did jump-start awareness of the entire credit union movement. We should try to make every day Bank Transfer Day and stay in the forefront. Because we couldn’t have been given a better gift than what the banks have been doing.
Wall: We should write Bank of America a thank-you note for announcing those debit card fees. When consumers got mad, that brought credit unions to the forefront.
Every day is Bank Transfer Day at Georgia United. We have stepped up our efforts in business development and hired additional reps to get the word out.
Of course, we try to make transferring accounts as easy as possible with tools such as switch kits, new member packets, free wiring of funds to open an account, and online account openings. Our E-Branch call center is staffed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every weekday and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
Godwin: We have to make it easier for people to leave their banks. They’re stuck because they have so many automatic debits and transfers. We started allowing people to transfer money at no charge to us to fund new accounts.
I hate to say it, but I’m actually starting to love the banks. There’s no marketing campaign we could have come up with that would be as effective as some banks’ behavior. It’s like you said: we should send them a thank-you note: “I really appreciate your $7 monthly debit card fee, Wells Fargo. That’s awesome. Keep it up!”
Because of Bank Transfer Day, people are more aware of what banks are doing. Before, it took so much to get people to switch. Now we’re getting people who are switching to us not necessarily for what we’re doing but of what the banks are doing. They’re saying, “That’s it; I’ve had it,” and they’re coming to us.
We’ve always used pricing information to illustrate the credit union advantage, and we've been pretty successful about communicating that in a way that’s easily understood.
I'll give you one quick example. If I told you that our checking account rate is 0.25% and a nearby bank pays 0.01%, you’d say “who cares?”
But if I tell you that for every $1 in interest you got from the bank you would have gotten $25 from us, that message resonates. This has given us more material to discuss when we’re trying to convince someone to switch.
NEXT: Boosting awareness